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Contemplative Photography
From Larry Lefever Photography

If you love to explore the world with a camera, not being able to get out during the past few months has likely been a challenge. But there is hope, and it lies no further than your house. 

A number of years ago, I discovered Contemplative Photography, primarily Miksang, which is Tibetan for “Good Eye” or more accurately, “Pure Eye.” In a nutshell, it works like this. Growing up we learned what a chair looked like and that label, “chair,” stayed with us. Same with all of the other objects we encounter. 

Unfortunately, every time we see a chair, we don’t see past the label. We look … chair … nothing interesting here, so we move on. But in doing so we may not “see” fascinating shape or texture or color or geometry. There could be beauty in the shadows created by the chair or perhaps an abstract detail of just the arm that we miss by assuming, “It’s just a chair. Nothing interesting here.”

The point is, there’s a fascinating world out there if we explore seeing perceptively…rather than conceptually. Scan the space you’re in for shapes, color, texture, and geometry. View the scene through these lenses rather than the labels of chair, building, walls, etc. As you scan, something will catch your attention. Don’t over analyze it, just rest with it for a moment and you may discover a fascinating picture. 

Miksang, like so many offerings from the East, can be easy in theory and more challenging in practice. And practice is the operative word. Just as all athletes practice their skills, so should we photographers. For myself it’s a daily adventure. 

I’d encourage you to watch Quiet Mind – Introduction to Miksang and Contemplative Photography, a short video that will give you a much better understanding of Contemplative Photography and the techniques to practice. Other resources can be found through a Youtube search of “Miksang” or “Contemplative Photography” that will lead you to the works of Michael Wood and Julie Dubose (both photographers have excellent books), as well and others.

The Larry Lefever Photography website also has an array of Miksang examples for you to view to get your creative eye focusing on the beautiful, smaller details in everyday life.

There’s an exciting new world within the very walls of your home just waiting to be photographed and shared. Happy Seeing!

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